EARTHWORKS

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Budget cuts for everyone: except for mining industry subsidies?

By Lauren Pagel

January 25, 2011

Today, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Elimination of Double Subsidies for the Hardrock Mining Industry Act, which would save U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating an outrageous tax deduction for the mining industry. In an era of budget cuts and calls for increased fiscal responsibility to reduce the federal deficit, giving double subsidies to exceedingly profitable industries is a move in the wrong direction and Senator Shaheen s legislation would finally end this ridiculous corporate tax break.

When you think of mining in the United States, the last thing you probably think of is the tax code. But, a provision in the tax code accounts for one of the largest subsidies received by the mining industry each year. This subsidy has a name that only the IRS could come up with the Percentage Depletion Allowance.

The Percentage Depletion Allowance, or PDA, permits a mining company to deduct a set percentage amount of its gross annual income when calculating its federal income tax, based on the fact that the value of its assets (the minerals in the ground) decline as mineral production progresses.

The PDA applies nationwide to mining operations on private and public lands, and constitutes an exceptional tax break for U.S. mineral producers beyond those granted to other private industries.

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Tagged with: mining, hardrock mining, subsidies, percentage depletion allowance, senate, pda


GASLAND (now an Oscar nominee), 'proof' and the need for responsible oversight

By Alan Septoff

January 25, 2011

This morning, GASLAND received a much-deserved nomination for Oscar for best documentary.

More than any other single effort, Josh Fox's GASLAND has helped puncture the myth that natural gas is "clean".  This movie makes abundantly clear the human costs of irresponsible drilling by telling the stories of real people who have been harmed by it.

When a multibillion dollar industry has its dirty laundry hung out for everyone to see, it fights back.  And so it has tried to discredit GASLAND as unfounded environmental hysteria. With this Oscar nomination, we can expect these attacks to increase.

Although you can read a blow-by-blow refutation of these attacks by Josh Fox and a panel of experts, one of industry's main claims is [paraphrasing] "we can't know those people were hurt by drilling -- there's no proof that drilling/hydraulic fracturing harmed their, or anyone's, drinking water".

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Tagged with: regulation, gasland, proof


Tell Walmart to stop the greenwash and drop 'Love, Earth' jewelry.

By Alan Septoff

January 21, 2011

We put out an action alert today, urging people to tell Walmart that its 'Love, Earth' is jewelry greenwash

Join EARTHWORKS, Great Basin Resource Watch, and the Western Shoshone Defense Project in calling upon Walmart to suspend its 'Love, Earth' brand of jewelry.

We've taken these steps only after a good piece of investigative journalism confirmed fears that EARTHWORKS and others have had for years:  without independent oversight -- ala FSC-certified wood -- a company's claim of responsibility simply can't be trusted.  Or to phrase it more gently (and famously): "trust but verify".

So, please write a letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke, and let him know that 'Love, Earth" jewelry is loving of neither the earth nor its workers.

 

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Tagged with: dirty gold, love earth, walmart


EPA could save America's waters and fisheries by taking strong action on mining

By Jennifer Krill

January 20, 2011

Bristol Bay, Alaska. Click to see full size versions of this any many more on the National Geographic website.Last week the EPA stepped into a leadership position by revoking the water permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, recognizing that mountaintop removal coal mining causes irreparable damage to America's waterways. This campaign came after years of struggle against the intractable coal industry, and great work from our allies the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Appalachian Voices, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and many others.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, alaska, toxics, pebble, water


Saving the scenery: Activist trainings teach skills, forge connections

By Nadia Steinzor

January 19, 2011

Don t blame me for signing a lease, and you'll never stop the drilling, the man said. There s an old saying: you can t eat the scenery.

Most days, this would have been depressing to hear and just another reason why gas development is running amok. But on this day, the speaker was part of something very positive, a role play on how to talk about the downsides of drilling with reluctant friends and neighbors.

This topic was part of Get Organized: Skills to Protect your Community in the Marcellus Shale, a training held last week in Pittsburgh and Connellsville, PA. Dozens of local residents turned out to learn how to recruit volunteers, generate media coverage, coordinate with other activists, and track problems in communities.

The events were hosted by PennEnvironment (which is planning more such events in the coming months) and co-led by EARTHWORKS, Clean Water Action, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, University of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, and Mountain Watershed Association.

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Tagged with: drilling, natural gas, marcellus shale, community organizing, gas development


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